Starting today, the first round for the Arizona Basketball playoffs begin for the 4A conference, continuing through the 14th. Here is a look at some of the best match ups to keep an eye on heading into the next couple days:
6A Conference Games (2/14)
#16 Mountain View (15-10) @ #1 Pinnacle (23-3)
The Pioneers know what it takes to win a championship, winning the 6A Championship last season. While Pinnacle looks to be the heavy favorite in this game, Mountain View has a good chance to come through and pull off an upset. We saw both teams on our stations this season, Mountain View on January 24th, falling just short to #8 Brophy 57-54. The Pioneers were featured twice this season, earlier in the year back in December, losing 76-59 against #5 Mountain Pointe on the 4th and squeaking by #9 Desert Vista 56-52 on the 14th. Senior Guard and Arizona commit Nico Mannion will be the star to watch on this Pinnacle team throughout the playoffs, averaging 29.5 points per game in the regular season, but Senior Forward Trent Brown and Junior Forward Tosh Baker are two supporting players that will impact this game, especially in the paint. For Mountain View, they’ll need Seniors Jackson Reavis and Blake Tingey to step up on both ends of the floor and try to outlast this high powered Pioneer squad.
#9 Desert Vista (17-9) @ #8 Brophy College Prep (13-12)
Desert Vista and Brophy College Prep, in my opinion, were destined to meet after having almost mirror seasons. Both teams had prominent stars graduate or transfer Brophy in Jaxson Baker and Ben Paul (graduate) for Brophy and Wesley Harris (graduate) and Tyrek Chambers (transfer) for Desert Vista. Both teams had high expectations coming into this season having gone a combined 51-7(!) both falling short of a state title last season. Desert Vista and Brophy did handle these high expectations well. DV started off 3-4 and stumbled through 2018 but would be redeemed by a 6 game win streak to start off 2019 and would look strong the rest of the second half of the season finishing 17-9. DV would also defeat Mountain Ridge in the play-in game last week. Brophy would start off to an even worse at 1-5 but rebounded well after going on a 4 game win streak to get themselves back to .500 where they would look consistent until the final 7 games of the season where they would go 3-4.
#12 Mesa (18-10) @ #5 Mountain Pointe (21-6)
Fans of the pulse should know Mesa from the season opener back in November where they defeated Corona 44-40 and continued their winning ways going onto having a 18-10 season having won their last 5. Mountain Pointe started off the season with a 9 game win streak and have won 8 in a row going into this game. The Pride also have only loss one game at home this season, a 65-62 win for Chandler, bringing pressure on the Jackrabbits going into Thursday. We saw Mountain Pointe three times this season, a 76-59 win against Pinnacle in December, a 70-53 loss against Desert Vista, and ended with a 70-44 win against Corona Del Sol in late January. The key match up in this game will come down to Zach Hobbs of Mesa against Jalen Graham of Mountain Pointe.
#13 Skyline (19-7) @ #4 Perry (17-9)
This should be a fun one. The Coyotes and Pumas are both in the playoffs for the second straight season, first time since back in 2008-2010 for Skyline. We saw Skyline very early in their successful season, defeating Highland 59-50 on December 11th. Perry was featured twice this season, winning against #10 Basha 65-47 on December 21st and Red Mountain 62-57 on February 1st. There will be talented players on both ends of the floor in this game. 6’6” Senior Kyle Patterson will be the man on the Pumas in the paint with Seniors Bauer Bongard and Jalen Williams working outside the perimeter. On Skyline, Sophomore Guard Patrick Herrera gets to see his first playoff action, averaging 14.8 points per game, the most on the team. Junior Forward Tyree Tyler will also be a key factor in this game, averaging a double-double this season with 13.8 points, 10.0 rebounds and 3.1 blocks in 26 games. Freshman Dominic Capriotti, son of head coach James Capriotti, a perimeter threat, will have a chance to shine in his playoff debut as well. Lots of talent will be displayed in this matchup.
Other 6A Games:
#14 Shadow Ridge (21-5) @ #3 Chandler (18-7)
#11 Westview (18-8) @ #6 Hamilton (15-8)
#10 Basha (13-13) @ #7 Cesar Chavez (23-4)
#15 Sandra Day O’Connor (18-9) @ #2 Chaparral (19-7)
5A Conference Games (2/13)
#16 Mountain View (15-11) @ #1 Gilbert (26-1)
After losing in the 2018 6A playoffs, Gilbert looks to bounce back and win their first 5A title. We only saw the Tigers play once on our station, winning against #7 Sunnyslope 57-45 on December 7th. Their only loss this season came against the #1 Pinnacle Pioneers back in November and have won 24 games in a row. This seems like an impossible game for the Mountain Lions to win, but Shooting Guards Julian Molina and Cameron Cotton will have to play their best game to lead and upset over Gilbert. This Tigers team cannot lose their eyes on the prize and Gilbert Captains Doc Self and Carson Towt should be able to lead this team through the playoffs and secure the 5A Championship. A great opportunity for both teams to get momentum rolling in their favor.
#9 Paradise Valley (18-10) @ #8 Williams Field (15-10)
PV and WF had by far better seasons than the records show. For Paradise Valley all starting five: Kendyl Watson, Moses Demalek, Jordan Hope, Anthony Giliberto all averaged at least 21.4 points per game and maxed out at 28.3. The Trojans just were not able to win consistently on the road or in neutral areas having an 11-8 record. For Williams Field they were great both on the road (7-2) and at home (7-2), but because of there Neutral record of 1-5 dragged them back down to earth and is something to keep note of later in the payoffs.
#13 Centennial (17-10) @ #4 McClintock (21-5)
This will be the game of the week in the first round of 5A play. Centennial has a chance to make some noise, but will have to beat a McClintock team that went 10-2 at home in the regular season. We saw the Chargers win 67-58 back in January against their biggest rival, the Tempe Buffaloes. The Coyotes do not have a star player in this team, but their roster is balanced and full of good young players in Senior Dallin Durty and Juniors Malcolm Daniels and David Teibo. The Chargers have a lot of skill in Senior Guard Josh Baker but Armani Williams and Chance Garland will have to step up and support Baker for McClintock to win this game. Should be a competitive game until the final buzzer.
#11 Desert Mountain (15-12) @ #6 Millennium (19-6)
A difficult task for the Wolves tomorrow night as they face a talented Tigers team. We saw Desert Mountain on our station very early in the season as they won 63-60 against #8 Williams Field. They have a Senior heavy team heading in to make one final playoff run and it starts with a big game against Millennium. The Tigers are back in the playoffs after missing out in 2018 and have a chance to gain momentum and push through as a dark horse in the 5A playoffs. Young Sophomore stars DaRon Holmes and Justus Jackson will have to get the playoff butterflies out of their system early and find a rhythm to beat the Wolves.
Other 5A Games:
#12 Nogales (19-6) @ #5 Cactus Shadows (22-3)
#14 Casteel (18-9) @ #3 Ironwood (22-4)
#10 Cibola (18-4) @ #7 Sunnyslope (17-8)
#15 South Mountain (19-9) @ #2 Apollo (23-3)
4A Conference Games (2/12)
#16 Moon Valley (17-10) @ #1 Shadow Mountain (22-3)
Mike Bibby’s squad looks to continue to dominate the 4A Conference as they make another championship run. As the #2 team in Arizona, the expectation is high for the Matadors and should be able to run through the playoffs with ease. They start against Moon Valley, a team with their big 3 in Juniors Ty Harper, James Burries, and Trent Hudgens. They’ll have to match up against Seniors Jaelen Williams and Jovan Blacksher and hold on for as long as they can.
#11 Catalina Foothills (19-6) @ #6 Seton Catholic (16-5)
Another matchup with two balanced teams. Catalina Foothills heads in winning 8 straight games, but 6-3 on the road. Seton Catholic is on a 7 game win streak, going 8-1 at home on the regular season. After being a #3 seed last season and losing in the quarterfinals, the Falcons look to rally behind Seniors Daniel James and Carson James and make a long playoff run. The Sentinels fell in the opening round last season and Head Coach Commander King is looking to avoid a repeat of last season’s end. Jackson Lee and Patrick Kossler will lead this team and hope for a big win.
Other 4A Games:
#9 Estrella Foothills (17-9) @ #8 Amphitheater (19-4)
#12 Mesquite (13-14) @ #5 Peoria (18-7)
#13 Palo Verde (20-5) @ #4 Salpointe Catholic (25-2)
#14 Dysart (20-6) @ #3 Buckeye (20-6)
#10 Arcadia (19-9) @ #7 Saint Mary’s (18-6)
#15 Saguaro (14-12) @ #2 Deer Valley (20-4)